Bryde, Like An Island - album review

Bryde is the latest project from West Walian songstress Sarah Howells – trance singer as well as one half of the Welsh folk collective Paper Aeroplanes.

Bryde's Like An Island
Bryde's Like An Island

After gaining success via both mediums, she has decided to ‘go it alone’ and explore her rockier roots through this latest pseudonym.

And rocky it is, using the same kind of punchy vocal style that served Alanis Morissette so well and intertwining the percussion-driven guitar stomps favoured by Silversun Pickups.

It’s a grouchy yet polished aura. She sounds at the same time like an angry teenager spewing her frustrations with the world onto the garage floor while holding her head high with the swagger of a seasoned musician who knows how to play the crowd to eat out of her hand.

Bryde, AKA, Sarah Howells, has a history with trance and folk

That voice is at once chest-poundingly welcoming. You feel like you are part of the gang, and the leader is rousing you with their latest speech. It’s powerful. And it has worked previously, Armin Van Buuren, among others, recognised her talents in the world of trance.

Here it holds court over a rock sound grungy enough to not sound false or out of place while still catching itself before it delves into the ‘specialist’ category of listening.

On Peace she showcases this well. The pounding, electronic heartbeat that underlines the verses leads nicely into the explosive chorus where her Celtic vocal chords can really soar, Florence Welch-style, over the top.

And that deliciously aggie guitar line that permeates Less is perfection. It slurs and swings as staccato percussion beats its steady path – this is where those Silversun Pickups vibes drop by to say hello.

There is a big sing-along chorus wedged into To Be Loved, and Bryde sounds like she is really enjoying herself when she lets loose like this. The great rock female vocalists all have that in their locker. ‘Yes, we mean business, but we can also enjoy ourselves at the same time’.

Bryde embodies that attitude. And because of it, this is a fantastic record and a path we hope she continues treading in her career.

Rating: 8/10

Bryde will perform her new work at The Cuban Embassy in Moseley, Birmingham, on April 22

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